They’re at it again.
The Bipartisan Policy Center, a collection of neoconservatives, hawks, and neoliberal interventionists is calling once again for war preparations against Iran, in its June 23 report, “Meeting the Challenge: When Time Runs Out."
Its most alarmist conclusions are summarized in an op-ed in the Washington Post by former Senator Chuck Robb and retired General Charles Wald, two BPC officials, who say (without any evidence whatsoever) that “current trends suggest that Iran could achieve nuclear weapons capability before the end of this year.” That’s utter nonsense: Iran has a modest stockpile of low-enriched uranium, a faltering program of centrifuges, and no known capability for weaponizing or delivering a bomb, and it is at least several years away from a military nuclear capability. To meet this not exactly urgent challenge, the BPC authors propose an immediate military buildup for war, and they call for “open preparation for the military option,” with a view toward “an effective, targeted strike on Tehran’s nuclear and supporting military facilities.”
We’ll see, in a bit, what the BPC wants, in particular. But it’s important to note that the report prominently cites Dennis Ross, currently “Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for the Central Region, National Security Council,” as one of the “original task force members” of the BPC’s bomb-Iran planning group. Ross, who’s been keeping a low profile, is the inside man for the neoconservatives in the Obama administration. Robb, a Democrat, is also an important player, whose most notorious role was as part of the Iraq Study Group in 2006, the much-publicized task force led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, which famously called for a drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq before President Bush ordered the “surge.” As part of the ISG, Robb argued forcefully for including a “surge” option in the ISG’s final report, against the better judgment of Baker, Hamilton, and their colleagues, and by threatening to quit the ISG in protest or write a dissident, minority report, Robb won. The surge was ordered just weeks after the release of the ISG report.
It’s not the first time that the BPC has issued a war-mongering report on Iran. Its first was issued in September, 2008, and that report was signed by Dennis Ross. A second report, similar to the first, was released in September, 2009. This, the third in the BPC’s series, isn’t much different from the first two, though it ups the ante in the sheer hysteria of how it portrays how close Iran might be to building a bomb. But the meat of the current is its call for outright war preparations, beginning with an immediate naval blockade of Iran: